Magical Places, Tree Cathdral, Bergamo

The Fantasy in Real Life series is dedicated to showcasing the weird and wonderful creations and natural phenomenon that occur around the world. This week we visit Bergamo, a city in Lombardy, Italy. Located just 25 miles northeast of Milan, Bergamo can be considered part of the greater Milan metropolitan area. To the north are the foothills of the Bergamo Alps.

As an ancient city, there are plenty of cathedrals and other examples of medieval architecture in Bergamo, but today we are going to focus on something new.

imageThe tree cathedral was the brain child of Italian artist, Giuliano Mauri, and is touted as one of the world’s most impressive examples of organic architecture. A lover of nature, Mauri created the original plans in 2001. Sadly, he died in 2009 before the work could be realized.

In 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, Mauri’s plans were put into action as a tribute to his life’s work. 42 beech trees were planted to form a basilica of five aisles will grow into the supporting columns. These beeches are supported by fir poles and branches of hazelnut and chestnut that have been woven together. These will be allowed to deteriorate as the beech trees grow larger. image (1)

Additional resources and articles about the Tree Cathedral:

Magical Places: ‘Becoming’ by Ted Metz

There is a stunning piece of sculpture at the University of Montevallo created by Ted Metz, an art professor, and forty of his students.  The piece, entitled “Becoming” is explained in a UM brochure in these terms:

“The younger hand, that of the student, reaches skyward. It’s pose and size suggest the potential for continuous growth and development.

The more mature hand, that of the teacher, appears to have been guiding the student’s hand but has now fallen back, representing a new role of support for the student.

The space separating the hands represents the student’s graduation, the event when the student takes what he as learned into the next phase of life.”

The sculpture was dedicated on February 15, 2003 on the UM campus opposite Bowers Colonnade on the corner of the King House quad.

Related articles:

UM Campus Tour Brochure

Shelby County Reporter: ‘Becoming’ sculpture dedicated at UM

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Magical Places: The Kelpies

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The Kelpies are 30 meter tall (nearly 100 feet) horse head sculptures in Falkirk, Scotland and were finished in October of 2013. They opened to the public in April of this year. They commemorate the completion of a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Historically, Kelpies are mythological water creatures that have inhabited Scotland’s waterways and lochs for thousands of years. They can appear in many forms, including human, but are most commonly associated with horses and are said to have the strength and endurance of 10 horses.

In the Falkirk area horses have played a major role in the economy and industry and were used to pull the wagons, ploughs, barges, and coalships along the canals. The sculptures pay homage to this heritage.

From the Wikipedia entry:

According to sculptor Andy Scott “The original concept of mythical water horses was a valid starting point for the artistic development of the structures.”[7] “I took that concept and moved with it towards a more equine and contemporary response, shifting from any mythological references towards a socio-historical monument intended to celebrate the horse’s role in industry and agriculture as well as the obvious association with the canals as tow horses.”[8] 

According to Scott the end result would be “Water-borne, towering gateways into The Helix, the Forth & Clyde Canal and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians.”[7]

Read more about the Kelpies:

Magical Places: Hand of Harmony

Hand of Harmony

This is the Hand of Harmony rising from the beach at Homigot, Korea. Up on the shoreline there is the other hand making a matched set. The palms face each other symbolizing harmony and unity. The sea side hand marks the easternmost tip of Korea, also referred to as the tiger’s tail, and is said to be an obscure tourist trap, especially photographers.  Every year they have a huge New’s Years festival here and release thousands of balloons symbolizing the hope and dreams of the new year and serve ddeokguk (rice-cake soup) to the hungry masses.

Photo from: http://www.premier-holidays.com/